Two years ago, I lived in this dingy apartment. I hated it sometimes because I’ve grown accustomed to certain tastes. Not that I was some well-off kid, but more because I’ve always been in a well-kept and tidy space. I remember, no matter where we move, my mom would always decorate the space and make it look and feel fancy. So to live in a dingy apartment, undecorated and messed up by a daily routine of putting things where they shouldn’t be, was outside of my comfort zone.
But I lived there for a year. It was okay. I learned to cook there. I learned to use a washing machine there. I even learned how to cook on a rice cooker there. I was what, 25 and knew nothing about life, what more living on my own? So in a way that dingy apartment would always be a fond memory. Our landlady was also the sweetest. They were an old couple with this ‘mafia’ of units for rent. They took us in when it flooded badly, our first floor unit got flooded too. That was a very funny experience, albeit traumatic. But that’s an entirely different story to tell.
So today, I remember that house because I decided to continue my Taylor Swift binge and the first song that played was Come Back, Be Here.
So here’s what I remember. We didn’t have a bed yet, so our mattress was on the floor. I just moved back home, after a big fight. Y asked me to stay over, as I was still welcome, she would say. And I laid myself down to see a note, rubbishly pasted on our low ceiling, “Come back, be here.”
I thought that was equally funny and sweet. That was when she was still trying, and I was an overt mess. To say that I was all over the place may be an overstatement, but I can’t describe myself any better than that. I was in Makati, Pasay, Cavite, Mandaluyong, Ortigas, and LA all at the same time. I know for that part, I was really at fault. I was hardly there. It was bad timing for us.
“Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely. – Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance”
Memories like that makes me think, it wasn’t all bad–maybe because I was more often than not, the one on the receiving end. But I’d love to think it wasn’t all that bad for her too. We couldn’t have lasted that long just enduring each other. That would be really sad.
But, my friend still said words that couldn’t be truer. “After the nightmare that was Y, you deserve nice.”
Earlier this morning, while I was reading this article from the Atlantic, I also remembered what A told me that we (Y and I) were both unkind to each other. She’s right. I wasn’t the best partner. I’d go ahead and make my excuse that it’s also because I wasn’t a great person then. I know I could’ve done better, but didn’t. I guess in a way, that makes my lapses heavier? The same would go for her.
But that relationship taught me so much. Not just about relationships, but about life, families, and myself. That’s why despite the nightmare that was Y, I’m thankful. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be this graceful. If it weren’t for what we went through, I wouldn’t be this strong.
Out of the blue, I remember that time when I just came from the operating room and I needed to puke but I couldn’t even lift my head because of my wound. She got a dish and let me turn my head so I can puke. She told me that my puke was color green. I don’t know why it would be green, I had nothing to eat and even drink (not even water) for almost a day. She told me it was so gross, and in a way that’s the oddest thing someone ever did for me. I bet it was really gross!
So, I have those memories to bank. I write things down so they don’t linger in my little head. I guess I’m de-cluttering? I have little capacity to collect memories and given that I’m living in a dream (the dream) right now, I need every brain cell to be free.
To be honest, I know that the love has been replaced by very opposite emotions. It’s not much of a big deal, because those emotions are legitimate responses to what she did to me. And while those emotions don’t really weigh on me, they’re just there; however, I think it would be nice to erase even those weightless feelings.
All I want to do now is to practice and receive kindness. After all, it’s quite fitting that after that nightmare is this golden opportunity to live the dream. I’d love to think I deserve it.
Song for this feeling: I Forget Where We Were – Ben Howard